Houseplants forum: What is wrong with my jade plant?

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SianA
Mar 17, 2014 9:22 AM CST
JADE PLANT

Hello!
My jade plant used to be strong and have firm, bright green leaves. It looked healthy! Now it's leaves are dull and droopy. Even the stem feels fragile. It has a south facing window with a lot of direct sunlight during the day. I've had it for about a year now. Is it possible it is acting like this because it needs to be repotted? I have maybe been watering a little too much recently... Once, sometimes twice a week although never a lot. How often should it be watered in the winter? It is on the window sill above a radiator but there is a bowl of water on top of the radiator so the air is a little humid.
Also, what is the white fuzz on the plant?
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you,
Sian
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 17, 2014 10:24 AM CST
I think your jade has mealy bugs. Use a cotton swab (Q-tip) dipped in alcohol to physically remove all the bugs/cotton-like material you can find. You will have to re-do this weekly for perhaps 2-3 weeks to eliminate the pests.

You are probably over-watering your jade. It is doubtful that this small plant is root-bound, and to tell the truth, jade's won't have all that robust of a root system anyway, and you probably can't get it root-bound. The reason I repot is because the jade's get so large and top-heavy, that larger, heavier clay pots are necessary to keep the plant/pot from tipping over. Your tall plant is getting to that "tipping-point". I water my jades once every-other week (or less) during the winter months, and don't fertilize at all. I will fertilize all mine in a month, and will use 20-20-20 diluted to 1/2 the stated dilution rate. Usually that rate is 1 tsp./gal., so I'll use 1/2 tsp./gal.

Jades, like most other houseplants, need air circulation. This eliminates most pest problems. Just a small fan will do wonders.

P. S. Your jade will actually tell you when it needs water. Watch for the leaves to begin shriveling a bit. Water then. Also, be sure you have well-draining soil and don't allow your plant to sit in a saucer of water.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 17, 2014 10:46 AM CST
Agree with the mealy bugs..start wiping them off as suggested by Ken.

As to watering during winter, lay off a bit with watering, they do not need that frequent watering, especially during winter. Once a month during winter is often more than enough. To be honest, I do not even give them fertilizers, and they thrive so well here, growing them outdoors, beside our house and they survive well, in our mild winter conditions. They do not really need a big container, very shallow root system. You may want to chop top portion a bit if it feels like getting too tall, and to encourage growth on the lower portion of the stem/branches, or just prop a stick to help it hold its weight. Then let the chopped off portion callus then you can stick it again in the same container or in a new container. Those stems can hold a lot of water so do not be too worried about it getting thirsty. The plant knows how to conserve its resources, oftentimes, I see this plant dropping older leaves, to give more to the new growth coming about.

I do not know where your location is, so depending how your winter goes, you may have to wait a bit in the chopping off part, I prefer to do any trimming when it is really warm.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Mar 17, 2014 11:06 AM CST
I see mealy bugs in that last photo too so they do need to be eradicated. I also think you should un-pot your Jade and check the roots. Watering twice a week seems excessive at this time of year but the location of the plant so near the heat of the radiator may very well be drying the plant out entirely too quickly. Here's a short article that might be helpful: http://www.blogsmonroe.com/gardening/2009/01/is-your-jade-pl...
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Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
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AnnaZ
Apr 9, 2014 9:27 AM CST
For mealybugs, I just spray with undiluted rubbing alcohol in a little hand sprayer.........It's never harmed the plant by doing it that way and you are sure to get the bugs.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Apr 13, 2014 12:33 PM CST
I agree. I do dilute the alcohol and spray away.
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brettnikiforow
Oct 3, 2014 8:38 AM CST
your light source is way to far away from your plant and that is was it is strung out.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Oct 3, 2014 10:11 AM CST
I don't understand the "light source" statement.
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Name: Grace
Stockton, CA (Zone 9a)
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SugiGirl
Oct 3, 2014 2:05 PM CST
Aside from the mealybugs, your jade looks etiolated -- which means it needs more sun (closer to direct sun).
As for watering, it's in a pretty small pot and I'm guessing it had a lot more leaves at one point? If so, I'd guess the root system is pretty extensive. When you water, you want to water a LOT at once, until water is pouring out the drain hole in the bottom....not a "little bit often", but a lot at one time. Then, let it go dry before you water it again. In my house, which is a pretty constant 75 degrees or so, I water my jades maybe once every 10 days and that's with completely bark-based soil with a lot of air pockets. If I used regular potting soil (like I have with some of my other houseplants), I often go a whole month before watering, especially if the central air is running in the summer.

I'd get rid of the mealybugs first.
Later, once everything is eradicated, I'd repot it into new, good soil and water thoroughly and put it in very bright sun eventually. I have jades outside in FULL SUN...and once they're used to it, they love that. If you do it too suddenly, though, it will burn the leaves.

Good luck! I tip my hat to you.

Grace

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Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
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seaecho
Oct 6, 2014 7:43 PM CST
My jade looks much the same. And I live in the S. California high desert, and its in a west window! So it gets several hours of sun a day, yet it still looks "weedy." I don't like that look, but didn't know what to do about it. Now I know I can cut off a top stem. It just seems that every time I do that (like I did with my Crown of Thorns), it takes FOREVER for it to get new growth. I'm like SugiGirl, I only water about once a month in winter and maybe once every two weeks in summer. Here's my jade, so you are not alone!

Thumb of 2014-10-07/seaecho/cfb7c6

Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
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AnnaZ
Oct 6, 2014 8:05 PM CST
I got a large jade plant from my dentist, who didn't want it anymore. It was the most overgrown, flopped-over plant I have ever seen. I brought it home and butchered almost every pathetic branch off of it. Wasn't long before it had new leaves and was looking great.

If you are thinking of repotting, do NOT do it now. Someone that worked at a huge garden center told me not to do it till spring because they have very shallow root systems and repotting in the fall would probably kill it with the shock and watering.

I have not repotted mine at all.
Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
There is ALWAYS room for one more p
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seaecho
Oct 7, 2014 6:52 PM CST
Yes I agree. Spring is the best time for repotting, for most plants. Maybe I'll get lucky and cut some off next spring and get new growth. Doesn't hurt to give it a whirl.
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
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AnnaZ
Oct 7, 2014 11:39 PM CST
You can root a jade in almost anything. Just stick them in dirt and they will grow.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 8, 2014 4:26 PM CST
I will give that jade some time outdoors now in Fall, it will enjoy it. Then some more water as it gets light, then let dry. My jades are outdoors in part sun/part shade, year round. They are thirstier during the hot summer and our extremely long dry days. When I give them a little more water, it tends to really fatten up its trunk. Crassulas enjoy the evening cool downs a lot then the temp rising during the day. Best to keep near the house or indoors if temps go to deep freeze temps which happens in late Fall to some time in winter.

Right now is active growing time, new leaves forming in the center as older outer leaves slowly dry out.

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